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Who needed deal more?


Who needed deal more?

Who needed Mondays deal more, the Ravens or running back Ray Rice?

One could certainly make the case that Rice was facing a pretty daunting scenario before he struck the five-year, 40 million deal that made him the NFLs third-highest-paid running back.

If the deadline had passed without a deal, Rice would have played in 2012 on a one-year contract. His 7.7 million salary was anything but chump change, but the one-year deal left him vulnerable to an injury possibly ruining the market for his longterm services. And of course, the Ravens had the option of putting the franchise tag on him yet again in 2013.

Put simply, he was on the verge of possibly steaming through his prime earning years on a succession of short-term deals, without a safety net or the guarantees that other stars at his position had obtained.

Yes, Rice needed to make that deal Monday.

But the Ravens needed Rice more.

Rices agent, Todd France, told the Carroll County Times Monday that Rice would have skipped at least part of training camp and possibly even some regular season games if hed had to play under the franchise tag in 2012 after not getting the longterm deal he wanted. Needless to say, that could have caused major problems.

The Ravens had offensive consistency issues as it was in 2011, even with Rice leading the league in yards from scrimmage. The passing game was up and down. There were a few clunker performances.

Quite simply, the Ravens offense couldnt be counted on to deliver from week to week. There just werent enough consistent playmakers.

Taking the units one consistent playmaker out of that equation in 2012 could have been disastrous, especially with Terrell Suggs out indefinitely and the rest of the defense dealing issues such as age, contracts and changing personnel putting more pressure on the offense to step up.

The Ravens havent really added anyone to their offensive mix other than No. 3 receiver Jacoby Jones and rookie running back Bernard Pierce, neither of whom is a difference maker.

They couldnt afford to get into the business of subtracting talent as well.

I have little doubt Rice eventually would have ended his holdout, showed up and played, possibly at his usual high level. Whatever the agent says might have happened, Rice, a total pro and legitimate team guy, would have felt terribly about letting down his teammates and tried to make up for it.

The fact that it never came to that obviously is a relief for all involved. Both sides needed each other in this tense negotiation that went down to the final minutes, and make no mistake, it took two willing parties to make the deal.

But while Rice really needed it, the Ravens needed their star running back even more.

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?